WCPS Staff Update

May 8, 2020

We have been anxiously awaiting guidance from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and updates to Governor Hogan’s executive orders before announcing the last day for staff and other important end-of-year information. On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Dr. Karen Salmon, state superintendent of schools, announced that all Maryland school buildings will be closed to students, and distance learning will continue for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Based upon this decision and the anticipation that Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery plan will continue, last work days for staff and some end-of-year procedures have been determined. Please keep in mind these dates and the following information are subject to change. With all of our plans moving forward, Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) staff will follow all health and safety protocols issued by Governor Hogan.


In this update, you will find end-of-year information about:

  • Teachers

  • Marking period 4 grading

  • ESP

  • A&S

Teachers

The last contractual work day for teachers is Monday, June 22, 2020. After the last day of distance learning for students on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, the following eight days are designated as personal planning time and grading time for teachers.


Three hours on Thursday, June 11, 2020, will be designated as the contractual grading time for teachers. Pending the governor’s orders on June 10, teachers may have the option to work in their own classrooms on June 11-22, 2020. Also during this time period, staff will be able to pick up their personal belongings. Teachers who come to school will be provided masks and gloves, hand sanitizer will be available, and all social distancing guidelines, group gathering sizes, and other health precautions in effect by the governor’s orders at the time will be followed. Teachers may choose to contact their principal and schedule a time if they wish to pick up their personal belongings after June 22, 2020.


During these eight days, June 11-22, 2020, optional professional development (PD) choices will be offered. These PD offerings are available to provide opportunities for teachers to enhance their skills and knowledge on a wide variety of topics. Many of the sessions will be offered multiple times to provide greater flexibility for teachers to take advantage of these sessions. Look for more information coming soon.


Absolutely no teacher will be required to attend any of the professional development workshops or meetings offered. Dr. Michael trusts you as professionals in determining your individual needs in deciding how to best prepare for the 2020-2021 school year, whatever that might bring. If a teacher is asked and agrees to help facilitate any of the PD sessions, they will be allowed to flex their personal planning time and will receive additional compensation for teaching adults in a workshop, which is $35 per hour plus $10 for 30 minutes of prep time allowed to each hour of teaching as identified in the contract.


All teachers will be paid their 2019-2020 salary in full unless they request, and are approved to, take days without pay. As with any work day, leave options are available to be taken as appropriate.


11-Month Teachers

Eleven-month teachers are required to complete their 210 contractual days. Depending on the number of days a teacher worked in August, it may be necessary to work beyond June 30, 2020, to complete the contract. Teachers will work with their supervisor to determine how to best meet their contractual obligation, but they must have all days worked prior to July 15, 2020.

Marking Period 4 Grading

All teachers should complete marking period 4 grades on Thursday, June 11, 2020. Teachers have been grading student work during distance learning, and those assignments should be used to determine marking period 4 grades. The COVID-19 pandemic has teachers and students working under highly unusual circumstances. Please use good, professional judgement when completing marking period 4 grades. Technology staff is adding additional comment options for teachers to use for marking period 4 report cards to reflect the abnormalities of this unique time period, including:

  • Completed online work during the COVID-19 closure

  • Completed packets during the COVID-19 closure

  • Did not complete assignments during the COVID-19 closure

  • Partially completed assignments during the COVID-19 closure

  • Regularly participated in distance learning classes during the COVID-19 closure

  • Did not participate regularly in distance learning classes during the COVID-19 closure


Secondary Grades

For secondary students, the actual grade determined for marking period 4 should be used unless it falls below 50%, and then a floor grade of 50% should be assigned. The circumstances surrounding the ability of individual students to complete work online is unknown. The 50% floor has been established to allow students the opportunity to complete assignments in the future.


The State Board of Education extended the 45-day grade change rule for both marking period 3 and marking period 4 until the 45th day of the new school year. This was approved in consideration of the unusual and unknown circumstances with students’ support at home. If a teacher has specific concerns regarding this direction, they are to speak with their principal for further guidance.


Secondary teachers also have the option to give students an “incomplete” on June 11 and allow students to submit make-up assignments through June 19, then complete final grade verification on June 22, 2020. Directions and timeline specifics will be emailed to principals and registrars.

Educational Support Personnel (ESP)

All ESP will be paid in full for their contracted number of work days for the 2019-2020 school year. The last day for 180-day ESP is Tuesday, June 9, 2020, and the last day for 185- and 190-day ESP is Wednesday, June 10, 2020.


Pending the governor’s orders, all ESP will return to work on Monday, June 8, 2020. Staff will be provided masks and gloves, hand sanitizer will be available, and all social distancing guidelines, group gathering sizes, and other health precautions as part of the governor’s orders in effect at the time will be followed. One hundred and eighty (180)-day ESP will work June 8 and June 9. One hundred and eighty-five (185)- and 190-day ESP will work June 8, 9, and 10. If additional work is needed by 180-, 185-, or 190-day ESP after their designated last day, then they will be paid for the additional time scheduled by their supervisor. No ESP employee will be required to work beyond their contracted number of workdays. More information regarding work assignments will be coming soon.


12-Month ESP

Pending the governor’s orders, supervisors may request 12-month ESP to work as needed June 1-5 on a full or partial schedule. Time worked this week will be paid as straight time in addition to regular hours paid to all ESP who are not reporting to work. Any 12-month ESP who does not wish to work from June 1-5 will not be required to do so.


When all ESP return to work on Monday, June 8, 12-month ESP employees will be paid like normal. If additional work is needed beyond their contracted hours, then they will be paid for the additional time scheduled by their supervisor per contract language.


Leave Options

ESP who do not report to work on June 8, or thereafter, may use available leave options as appropriate.

Administrators and Supervisors (A&S)

Throughout the COVID-19 school closure, principals have been reporting to schools and all other A&S have been working at their work location or from home, including two designated holidays, April 10 and April 13. All A&S will have two days added to their annual leave balance for working these two holidays.


Pending the lifting of the governor’s “stay-at-home” order, all A&S staff should plan to return to work on Monday, May 18, 2020. Staff will be provided masks and gloves, hand sanitizer will be available, and all social distancing guidelines, group gathering sizes, and other health precautions as part of the governor’s orders in effect at the time will be followed.


Specific protocols for staff working at the Center for Education Services (CES) will be provided for hallways, stairs, and elevator traffic in addition to guidelines for distancing in office spaces. From May 18-June 1, 2020, A&S staff may work flexible hours to complete their responsibilities. Any flexibility in scheduled work time must be approved by the A&S staff member’s supervisor. A&S who do not report to work on May 18, or thereafter, may use available leave options as appropriate.

Reminder

The plans outlined above for WCPS staff to return to work are subject to change pending executive orders by the governor’s office and other related federal, state, or local agencies. WCPS will continue to monitor updates and will provide new information as it becomes available.